A veggie pre-christmas time!

Uuuh, sorry, I didn't write here for such a long time in spite of some recommendations I still want to pass on to you.. I returned to Germany in the meantime and was busy with all kind of other things and concentrated on writing on my Berlin restaurant blog (I also changed its design, do you like it?).
However I haven't forgotten you guys!
One of my primary aims with this blog was and still is to show you that you are not lost and alone in Japan as a vegetarian. There are lots of people around you who also love their veggies. A true lover of vegetables (and music) can be found here:


Okay, no more kidding. One thing I really loved in Japan at this time of the year are all the wonderful citrus fruits I've never seen somewhere else before. My favourite is Yuzu, a fruit that is not that good for eating raw just like it is, but Yuzu juice and Yuzu zest are great ingrediences for various dishes. It has an indescribably aromatic and intense scent that goes along fine with boiled tofu, udon noodles, gives soups and sauces a fresh touch, can be found in dried spice mixtures with chili and black sesame, as well as in form of Yuzu Koshou (literally Yuzu pepper) - a spicy flavouring that can be found in Japanese supermarkets and delicatessen shops. Yuzu is also fantastic in sweets like icecream, Yuzu Melon pan, as a hot tea in wintertime, lemonade in summer, or you can make your own Yuzu marmelade!
I did this last winter, alongside several jars of Natsumikan marmelade (another Japanese citrus fruit, that looks a bit like a big yellow orange or grapefruit, but has a milder taste.

All those fruits grow during the summertime (Natsumikan means "summer tangerine")but are very often not harvested since they looks so pretty on the trees in winter. When the weather tends to get gray it is nice to have some bright coloured dots on the trees :) However, if you happen to be on the Japanese countryside or are lucky enough to have such a tree somewhere close-by, you should try to get your hands on some of the fruits before they start to rot. They are just too delicious for not being eaten!

For making marmelade: squeeze as much juice as you can get out of the fruits, add some zests (not too much though - it could turn bitter otherwise) and boil with an equal amount of sugar for at least 15 - 20 min. Even better would be jam sugar since you only need half as much sugar and a shorter cooking time thanks to the pectin that is added. However I couldn't find any jam sugar in Japan unfortunatly.
To check if it is ready put a teaspoon of the marmelade on a little plate, keep it on a cool place for two minutes to see if the marmelade thickens when it cools. If not cook it a little longer and try again.
If it doesn't get firm like marmelades bought in shops, don't worry: the taste will be great anyway and you can also try stiring it in yoghurt for example or as yummie topping on vanilla icecream..